Some people go to college and don’t know what to major in. There are also those who decide to major in business. Maybe you’re one of these people who decided to major in business with an emphasis in marketing, but were told by friends and family that you shouldn’t be so specific because you’re limiting yourself. Maybe you want to get an MBA and think that a business degree would be best to get your foot in the door. I’m going to say right now that you would be sorely mistaken to think so.
This article is not to bash or look down upon business majors. Rather, my goal is to help save your career. You might not understand this yet, but economics would actually be a very good degree for someone who wants options.
I’m a guy who loves to have options. I also believe that a PhD in Economics would provide more options for me than just a bachelor’s degree. I recently read an article about why you shouldn’t major in business. It gave eight reasons why you shouldn’t and I will confirm the validity of these points. Remember, I used to be a business major. I used to think that I would be better off at an investment bank than any other major. I was sorely mistaken. Here’s my take on the eight points:
1. Business Majors Don’t Learn Much in Business School
This might seem like a low blow to business majors, but it’s not. I took a business class in community college and thought that it was amazing. But I was bored because we learned about the SWOT analysis and how to register a business in Oregon. The class was basically just a planning class. I’m sure that you would also learn some management styles, but why take four years to do that when you could major in economics and use that knowledge of the SWOT analysis to your advantage? If you want to eventually get into business consulting, majoring in business (though as backwards as it may seem) is not the degree you want. You might take a couple accounting and economics courses. But you won’t have the needed skills.
2. You Won’t Make as Much Money as You Might Think
The CBS News article said that business is doing worse than history, American studies, and even philosophy as a degree these days. Part of the reason this is happening is because you would be one in a million who majored in business. It would be even worse if your degree was just general business. Business is something you want to be specialized in to an extent. Be versatile, but special. Stand out from the crowd. If you’re wanting to make money in business, don’t major in business unless you’re alright with the long wait while doing a lot of grunt work.
3. The Job Market is Crawling With Business Majors
Don’t believe me? BYU-Idaho can’t handle their orientation class every business major is required to take. What I mean by that is that even though there are three sections with 150 seats each and an additional 10 sections with 50 seats each, there are usually people waitlisted on the majority of these 13 classes. If there weren’t so many business majors at BYU-Idaho, then tell me why there’s a capacity of 950 new students every semester for new business majors. This means that 2,850 new business majors are able to come to BYU-Idaho each year. Most of the other students I have general classes with are business majors. Again, stand out from the crowd.
4. Your Quality of Life Could Suck
CBS wasn’t very clear about this point and I’m not going to really comment much about this. I will say, however, that your quality of life will be what you make it. In that orientation class, the teacher says that if you want a ‘B,’ you will do what I tell you to. If you want an ‘A,’ you will go above and beyond the requirements. As a business major, your life will be like that. You shouldn’t think that you will be better than everybody else and thus are awesome. Work hard so that you can stand out from the crowd.
5. Majoring in Business Could Hurt Your MBA Chances
CBS hit the nail on the head with this one. Don’t think that just because you have a business degree that you will automatically get into an MBA program. One huge difference between an MBA program and an undergrad degree in business is that you will have a lot more technical work, depending on your program. BYU-Idaho doesn’t make any of their business majors take managerial economics. I don’t blame them since there’s a lot of scary looking math in there. But it’s still a really good idea for business majors who are serious about managing a business, or even consulting, to take it. An MBA program might require you to take it. The people I hear about getting MBAs are usually economics and finance majors. This is because of the analytical and mathematical skills of economics that makes you appealing.
6. You Don’t Need a Business Degree to Work in Business
I couldn’t have said it better myself. Many people who want to work in the finance industry will lose their job to the economics major. It’s nothing personal. The economics major usually has a lot more math than you will. Finance departments usually want to hire an economist or someone who’s good with numbers. If you know someone who is majoring in supply chain, you might want to direct them to this paragraph. I say that because when I went to Melaleuca in Idaho Falls, Idaho, they had someone in their supply chain department who talked with us. He was impressed by the skill and knowledge that we all had from managerial economics. He used forecasting methods and tools that we used. Stand out from the crowd. Major in economics.
7. You Can Make More Money With an Economics Degree
I was surprised when I read this one, to be honest. There’s two reasons CBS included this one: 1. Economics is a higher paying degree. 2. You learn more about writing and thinking because economics is a liberal art. It’s a social science that encourages you to think freely about many things. It’s technical and requires reports. Not just any reports, but really good reports. You will have a leg up in the office due to your report writing skills. Business majors learn a lot about presentations. But they don’t learn as much about writing reports, something that is a very important skill.
8. Your Parents Want You to Major in Business
I’ve been there. I really have. I agree with what CBS said about this point and I join them in their statement by saying not to major in business if you don’t want to. Maybe back when your parents were in school there were less business majors. But the times have changed since they were in school. They’re a dime a dozen now. It’s like starting a lemonade stand and expecting to make it big these days.
I don’t think business is always a bad choice for a major. However, I do think that the only useful one is entrepreneurship or supply chain. Finance is good, but I don’t think you’re going to get that job if there’s a slew of newly graduated and highly skilled economics majors that took all the way up to statistics. Business majors might not be as good at calculating, creating, interpreting, and presenting charts and graphs as economics majors who routinely do this for many classes. One last thing I will say about: My mother has a degree in marketing and says that all of these points are very true.